|2001 Dallas Cowboys season|
|Head Coach||Dave Campo|
|Home Field||Texas Stadium|
|Place||5th NFC East|
|Playoff Finish||did not qualify|
|Previous season||Next season|
An eventful off-season created a lot buzz but little change in the Cowboys' fortunes. Franchise quarterback Troy Aikman, after suffering a pair of concussions the previous season, was released by the team. Unable to sign on with another team — in part due to his long history of concussions — Aikman announced his retirement at an emotional and lengthy press conference later in the off-season. This left running back Emmitt Smith as the last of the famed "triplets" from the teams' Super Bowl victories. Veteran quarterback Tony Banks was signed in the off-season from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens as an immediate replacement, and owner Jerry Jones hand picked Georgia quarterback Quincy Carter with a second round draft choice as the quarterback of the future. Many saw the Carter pick as quite a reach considering Carter's inconsistent career at Georgia and his low draft rating by several other teams.
Despite what seemed a promising outing in the first pre-season game by starter Tony Banks, the Cowboys, in a very surprising move, released Banks in the middle of training camp and handed the reins over to their rookie quarterback. Unfortunately, a combination of injuries and ineffectiveness led to the Cowboys starting a total of four different quarterbacks over the course of the season including journeyman Anthony Wright and former Arkansas Razorback Clint Stoerner. In an attempt to provide more depth at the quarterback position, the team signed former second-overall draft pick Ryan Leaf mid-season, however he provided no improvement in his limited playing time. His only start of the season, a Week 9 loss to the Falcons, was the final start of his career. The game also marked the first start for Falcons QB Michael Vick.
Even with the injection of new blood, the Cowboys suffered through another 5–11 campaign and a last place finish in the NFC East. The lack of development at quarterback and the offense as a whole would be blamed on offensive coordinator Jack Reilly who was dismissed after the season. Fans became weary of the Cowboys' performance and blamed owner Jerry Jones, who by now had taken a more hands-on approach to running the team.
One notable game included week 7, where the Cowboys led the Giants 24–7 at halftime, but (thanks in part to Clint Stoerner's throwing 4 interceptions) the Giants rallied to win in overtime. In an unusual move, Stoerner was pulled from the game for Ryan Leaf late in the 4th quarter of a tie game. It was Leaf's debut with the team, but he couldn't lead them to victory.
Another infamous game was on Thanksgiving Day against the Broncos. Dallas trailed 26–10 and scored a touchdown in the 4th quarter. Coach Dave Campo decided against "going for 2" which if successful would have made it an eight point (and one possession game). Campo instead kicked the extra point, keeping the margin at 9. Dallas did score one more late TD but that was not enough to tie the game and they never got the ball back, and lost 26–24.
A second consecutive season sweep of rival Washington Redskins and a victory over the San Francisco 49ers were the only victories of note. Much of the focus turned towards Emmitt Smith and his pursuit of the all-time career rushing yardage record. During an early season game against the San Diego Chargers, Bob Hayes was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
|1||September 9, 2001||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||L 10–6|
|2||September 23, 2001||San Diego Chargers||L 32–21|
|3||September 30, 2001||at Philadelphia Eagles||L 40–18|
|4||October 7, 2001||at Oakland Raiders||L 28–21|
|5||October 15, 2001||Washington Redskins||W 9–7|
|7||October 28, 2001||Arizona Cardinals||W 17–3|
|8||November 4, 2001||at New York Giants||L 27–24|
|9||November 11, 2001||at Atlanta Falcons||L 20–13|
|10||November 18, 2001||Philadelphia Eagles||L 36–3|
|11||November 22, 2001||Denver Broncos||L 26–24|
|12||December 2, 2001||at Washington Redskins||W 20–14|
|13||December 9, 2001||New York Giants||W 20–13|
|14||December 16, 2001||at Seattle Seahawks||L 29–3|
|15||December 23, 2001||at Arizona Cardinals||L 17–10|
|16||December 30, 2001||San Francisco 49ers||W 27–21|
|17||January 6, 2002||at Detroit Lions||L 15–10|
|New York Giants||7||9||0||.438||294||321|
|Dallas Cowboys 2001 coaching staff|
Special Teams Coaches
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 113